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This brings us to the third great legacy which Judaism bequeathed to Christianity — eschatology. Just as the origin of the new religion cannot be conceived without the Jewish hope in the coming kingdom of God, so in the lifelong struggle with the Roman state the victory is won through the Jewish hope in the Resurrection. The fact that the early Christians did not adversely criticise the Jewish hope in any book of the New Testament, and that they were able to treat Jewish apocalypses without further addition as Christian, proves how deeply indebted they felt themselves to the Jews in this point above all others.
How confused a maze of eschatological conceptions could coexist often in one and the same person we can see most simply by a few instances from the New Testament. We have an eschatology of the synoptists, and that a twofold one (Mk. xiii. and Luke xvi.), we have a series of apparently contradictory eschatologies in St Paul (1 Thess. iv., 2 Thess. ii., 1 Cor. xv., 2 Cor. v., Rom. xi., Phil. ii.), a whole bundle of eschatologies in the Apocalypse, and finally a peculiar variety in 2 Peter. It is far more difficult to find even two entirely parallel visions of the future state, when one looks through the Jewish apocalypses dating from the time immediately preceding or succeeding Jesus. The thoughts of the learned differed from those of the common people, and the ideas of the Jews of the dispersion were unlike those of their Palestinian brethren. It will be sufficient for our purpose if we examine the different groups of these conceptions.
The most important chapter in eschatology, , especially for the populace, excited as it had been ever since the wars of the Maccabees by patriotic
aspirations, is the national hope. The heading of the chapter is “ Israel and the Gentile World.” The people of God—recipients of the promises, and who in spite of them serve the Gentiles, the kings of the earth, and the city of Babylon, shall be liberated and exalted to lordship over the whole world, while the neighbouring peoples shall be humbled. It is just the chief ideas of the New Testament—the kingdom of God and the Messiahthat belong to this political group of conceptions. But first the great reign of terror must pass bythe time of tribulation and temptation when Israel shall be humiliated yet further, and the heathen shall deliver their fiercest assaults upon the whole city and the Temple, led at times by Anti-christ, the devilish king of the last days, the enemy of God. When the need is highest, God's help is nighest: He confounds the enemy and establishes His kingdom. In all these pictures the kingdom of God is always conceived of as a political organization, in opposition to the kingdoms of the rulers of this earth and of the demons. It is placed upon the earth, or, with greater particularity, in Palestine, with Jerusalem for its capital. It denotes the supremacy of Israel over all the world. Her enemies and her tyrants are either rooted out or are subject to her as her slaves. They bring their tribute to Jerusalem and accept the Law of Israel. On the other hand, the patriarchs and the pious men of old, especially the martyrs, have now risen from the dead in order to participate in the joy of the kingdom which shall be—so men gradually tended to think-for everlasting. Either God Himself is
regarded as the King, or He has raised the Messiah, the lawful descendant of David, to the throne, that He may judge and rule over His people in righteous
While the older writings presuppose the continuation of the Davidic dynasty, the later accept the everlasting rule of the one descendant of David. Now all this is a continuation of earthly circumstances under somewhat higher and more spiritual conditions. This vision of the future might be called a patriotic Jewish Utopia.
It is, however, characteristic of the age of Jesus that this political expectation seldom stands by itself, but has to suffer admixture with elements of an entirely different nature, with the eschatology of the whole world and of the individual. Two important questions, the fate of the world and the fate of the individual soul, are added to the previous subject : “ Israel and the Gentile World.” They are of especial importance for the new religion, because though it arose from the midst of the national eschatology, it quickly freed itself from it and turned its attention to the other problems. In the first place, we find that in later Judaism the whole realm of actionheaven as well as earth and the world of spirits—are all drawn into the historical drama, until at length though the transition is not yet quite clear to usthe conception of the essential similarity between the future and the present gives way to the conception of the new æon which in many important points is to be the exact opposite of the present world. Here is death, there everlasting life; here flesh, there spirit; here sin, there innocence; here God is far away, there He shall be seen face to face. This vision embraces the fate of the whole of creation, of the whole human race, so that Israel's glory merely appears as one special case amongst many. Of course it likewise furnishes us with evidence of the incapacity of the Jew to leave the world of phenomena behind him, for the future life never appears to him as the spiritual in our sense of the word, but always as the hyperphysical.
In the next place, men are now free to reflect upon the fate of the individual. The hope of salvation, first of the rescue of the individual in the great struggle that shall be in the last days, and then of his future blessedness—this hope takes its place beside that of the kingdom of God. The goal is one and the same, but many roads lead to it. Either the conception of the resurrection of the dead and of the day of judgment are accepted, and the emphasis is laid upon the judgment of the individual soul by God. The soul appears before the great judgment seat with the result of its whole life, there to receive everlasting joy or endless torment. In this case the old idea of the shadowy life of the soul in Sheol suffices to describe its condition until the day of the final resurrection. Or else the powerful light of the faith in retribution is flashed even into Hades itself, and that at once, so that for the individual death is followed immediately by judgment and the dead are portioned out between Gehenna and Paradise without waiting for the final judgment. But in this case the soul itself must be conceived of as something phenomenal, as sensible to bodily pain and pleasure.
In all this there is nothing clear and distinct—there is no unity of conception. The sources of all these ideas are so various that complete harmony is out of the question. Here we go back to the patriotic enthusiasm of the prophets and to their prophecies of the coming doom, and again to Animism, old as the human race itself, though it has been transformed by the dogma of retribution; and, lastly, to possibly Persian notions of the resurrection and the new world. It is true that attempts at reducing these varied elements into some sort of system are not entirely wanting. Such are the millennial theories of our Book of Revelation, parallels to which may be found in the fourth book of Ezra and in Baruch. First of all, room is found for the national Utopia, but then comes the final catastrophe, followed by the universal resurrection of the dead and the day of judgment; and so it turns out to be merely a provisional state of things preparatory to the new world. But for Jesus, the kingdom of God and the new world run into each other; there is no provisional state of things, but the most intimate blending of earthly and transcendental features. And after all, the most important point was not the manner of the realization, but the fact itself. Israel possessed the religion of Hope. No other people had anything like it. With the same battle-cry with which Christianity arose, “ The kingdom shall yet be ours,” Israel itself went forth to the last dread war of destruction and after that into its desolation. But as for the kingdom itself, it is in God's hand alone; that every Jew and every Christian knew. It is the gift of God, and He gives it when He will. Men cannot bring it about. Neither in Jewish nor in Christian writings is there the slightest suspicion of the thought that men's acts, their works, or their piety, can cause the king